Counting the county’s homeless population


By Kayla Hawthorne - khawthorne@aimmediamidwest.com



POINT PLEASANT — The point-in-time homelessness count took place this week, from 4 p.m. Jan. 22 until 4 p.m. on Jan. 23.

According to the Mason County Homeless Shelter Director John Machir, as of 1 p.m. Thursday, volunteers found six unsheltered individuals.

Machir said most of the people they counted were found in the Bend Area and nobody was counted in the City of Point Pleasant. When searching, volunteers looked in parks and campgrounds, under bridges, in cemeteries, and ball field dugouts.

“We brought somebody in to a warming station last night who was unsheltered outside,” Machir said. “Not everyone wants to come in, but in his case, he did.”

Machir said the final data should be back in a couple weeks and will have a map of where individuals were located.

“We send this information to congress and it’s used to see if we need more resources in the area,” Machir said.

Machir said the number of individuals they were able to count is about half of what they counted in 2019. He thinks that’s due to the limited number of volunteers the shelter had this year.

In preparation of the count, Machir notified police departments that his volunteers would be out in the night. He also asked service personnel and school bus drivers to keep an eye out for individuals that may be unsheltered.

Machir said the individuals that are eligible to be counted must be living on the streets. The point-in-time count does not consider those who are temporarily staying with others, those who are incarcerated or those in temporary housing to be homeless.

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By Kayla Hawthorne

khawthorne@aimmediamidwest.com

Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.

Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.